'Sindh government attacked me through goons in jail,' claims PTI's Haleem Adil Sheikh

Published February 22, 2021
In this Oct 2020 file photo, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses a press conference in Karachi. — APP
In this Oct 2020 file photo, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses a press conference in Karachi. — APP

Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh on Monday alleged that a video shared by the PTI's Karachi chapter on Twitter showed the way the Sindh government "through 50-60 criminals, prisoners, goons got me attacked".

He also alleged the Sindh government was "manhandling, torturing and harassing" PTI workers in jail.

Sheikh, who was remanded in judicial custody by an anti-terrorism court on Feb 19, was detained last week in a case related to violence, firing, attempted murder and causing terror during the by-polls in the PS-88 constituency of Malir.

In a video statement, Sheikh said he had come to Karachi's Jinnah Hospital allegedly after he was beaten up while in jail, adding that PTI workers, including Samir Mir Shaikh, Amjad, Hafeez Chandio and three other people who are in Central Jail are being "tortured".

"I was told yesterday that Samir Mir Shaikh is being kept in a phansi gath (hanging cell) like me and they are treating him inhumanely. Five senior colleagues of mine in the Malir [District] Jail since Feb 7, workers of the PTI and my constituency — Iqbal Shah, Usman Bugti, Aziz Bhatti, Rao Yousuf, Khalil Mehsud's son Nauroze Mehsud — are being tortured in jail."

Detailing Samir's condition, Sheikh claimed that a police officer had told him that "a lot of strictness" is being done on Samir. "Is it his fault that he knows the PPP's thieves and looters from within?" he questioned, demanding that Samir be recovered immediately.

Meanwhile, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi said that Sheikh was hospitalised after being attacked by "50 PPP goons inside Central Jail Karachi". He vowed to raise the matter with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"High time that action is taken against IGP-Sindh, Home Sec & an incompetent Chief Secretary," he said in a tweet.

Governor criticises Sindh IG

In a press conference today, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail heavily criticised the Sindh Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar, saying he hoped the prime minister would take "strict notice" of the incident with Sheikh.

"Nobody will be allowed to do as they wish here. What is happening today with [Sheikh] can happen tomorrow to you or me," he said while apparently addressing officials in Sindh Police.

Ismail claimed that Sheikh was "kept locked up at night along with other people and beaten".

He questioned whether it was an attempt by the provincial government to "set an example for others that this would be done to them if they opposed [Sindh government]".

"I want to send a clear message to the IG sahb that this is the last opportunity for you to take police decisions on fairness and justice."

The governor shared that he called the provincial police chief yesterday and was told whatever was happening was according to the law.

He claimed that the governor was "desperate" and what had been done in the last five days was "not according to [the IG's] stature".

Talking about the FIR (first information report) registered against Sheikh and others, he alleged that police had deliberately chosen not to name anyone so they could "arrest whoever they want and keep adding names to the list".

Ismail also claimed that police security for all members of the provincial and National assemblies belonging to the opposition PTI was withdrawn and they were forced to make their own arrangments.

Jail official denies attack

Sheikh's claims were contradicted by Central Jail Superintendent Hassan Sahito who said "nobody raised a hand on Haleem Adil Sheikh or slapped him".

In a statement, he said Sheikh was transferred to the Central Jail at 4pm on Saturday when routine work was being done.

"Haleem Adil Sheikh was being moved to the Mohammad Ali B-class ward [...] and was passing through the waiting area when some prisoners raised slogans. He was moved back to the superintendent's office in 26 seconds," Sahito said.

Sheikh was later moved to the security ward, he added.

The official said Sheikh had submitted an application, saying he suffered from blood pressure issues and had heart problems and he was regularly treated at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD).

"Doctors told me to get an angiography done recently. The jail doctor too checked me a little while ago. My condition is worsening and I should be sent to NICVD immediately so I can be treated," Sheikh stated in the application which was seen by Dawn.com.

Sheikh was then taken to NICVD, Sahito said.

Sindh govt spokesperson terms it 'drama'

Denying claims that the Sindh government was involved, its spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had directed that Sheikh be removed from the constituency.

"The ECP itself had written that Haleem Adil Sheikh was roaming around in the form of a car rally, laced with weapons," he said during a press conference.

Wahab said pictures of PTI workers carrying weapons were shared on the day the by-election was held while footage of firing was also broadcast by media.

"Will the police be silenced? They took action."

The spokesperson said Sheikh had been named in the FIR, going on to defend police actions. "Police had an extremely polite attitude with Sheikh. Would they have let people meet him if they were not objective?"

He also questioned how a person (Sheikh) who was tortured could be seen "happy and healthy" in the hospital. "No torture was done on him in jail," Wahab stressed.

Talking about the Sindh governor's presser earlier in the day, Wahab said it did not befit the governor's stature to "threaten" the Sindh IG.

"For God's sake, stop this drama," he said, adding that it was all being done to affect the case.

Last week, police claimed to have detained the PTI leader along with four of his supporters — Ramzan, Mehmood, Ghulam Mustafa Hafeez and Abdul Haseeb — and booked them for allegedly resorting to violence, aerial firing, attempted murder, hindering public servants from discharging their duties and causing terror during voting at a polling station in the Memon Goth area on Feb 15.

On Friday, Sheikh claimed that a four-foot-long 'black cobra' was deliberately left in his cell under a conspiracy to kill him on the directives of PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

Despite repeated attempts to reach out to several police officials for comment, the police remained tight-lipped about the incident.

Opinion

What is terrorism?
Updated 07 Mar 2021

What is terrorism?

The term ‘terrorism’ is still defined in a vague and contradictory manner.

Editorial

After the vote
Updated 07 Mar 2021

After the vote

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan may have received the vote of confidence but it does not resolve the major issues that the...
07 Mar 2021

Wasted food

THE number is mind-boggling. According to the UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index, over 900 million tonnes...
07 Mar 2021

Covid-19 spike

FEARS about a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country turned real this week as coronavirus infections,...
Vote of confidence
Updated 06 Mar 2021

Vote of confidence

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan’s decision to take a vote of confidence from parliament today is a bizarre move.
06 Mar 2021

PSL disaster

RAPID escalation in the number of coronavirus cases has led to the postponement of the Pakistan Super League’s...
06 Mar 2021

India ranking

WHILE India has often tooted its own horn as the ‘world’s largest democracy’ — being supported in this...